Sister Tarpley: Judah’s Integrity Test

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Mr. Haston II & Mrs. Denise Lewis, with their last University graduate, Devon from Duke University, Haston III from Morehouse University and Dian from Hampton University

By Sister Tarpley, NDG Religion Editor

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” Job 31:1

In Genesis 38, we read how Judah, one of Joseph’s brothers, allowed his purity – and the staff that represented his stature and position in the community – to be taken from him.

Tamar was deprived by Judah of having children in memory of her husband which was the custom of the day if a husband died. Under the law, Judah did a great injustice to his daughter-in-law. Although Tamar lived in Judah’s house, Judah withheld his son from her.

So Tamar devised a plan. Hearing that Judah planned to go to the town of Timnah, she disguised herself with a veil and hurried to the village of Enaim. She posed as a Canaanite prostitute and waited for Judah to pass by. Soon, Judah came up, saw a prostitute sitting at the gate, and propositioned her and promised a goat for payment.

Tamar asked for a pledge – the personal seal and the staff in his hand. The staff was the symbol of Judah’s position in the community. So Judah gave her the staff and the seal with its cord. He slept with Tamar, and she became pregnant. Time passed and Judah discovered Tamar was pregnant. He knew that there was only one way this could have happened – she had prostituted herself! Enraged, Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!”

As the people brought Tamar out to be executed, she cried out, “I am pregnant by the man who owns these!” She held in her hands the seal and staff of Judah. Seeing them, Judah knew he stood convicted. He broke down and confessed, “She is more righteous than I am!”

Sexual sin can take everything away from a man or woman; their reputation, their career, and even their family. No matter how strong we think we are, no one is immune from temptation. Pray that God’s grace keeps you pure.

People have written books on how to be highly effective and successful leaders, churches, parents . . . and so on. If you want to become a more effective Christian leader ask God to help you improve your walk in life and keep your mind focused on Him being first in your life. Give your thoughts and actions to God to lead and guide you. In your own human capacity, without His guidance, it is impossible for you to be an effective Christian. May His Spirit flow through you and let God use you to minister to others, to reach out to the lost, and to love those around you with a godly love. Allow God be glorified in the Name of Jesus.